Young Woman's Grant for Entrepreneurs

When we launched Goodness To Go Energy in April 2018, we immediately knew we wanted to commit to donating a portion of our granola bar profits to charity. We debated for months thinking about which charitable cause could have the greatest impact on the area where our business is based.  Rural Nova Scotia experiences a high percentage of families living below the poverty line.  Child poverty is particularly problematic in Nova Scotia, which has the highest rate of child poverty in Atlantic Canada.  Which charity could we donate to in order to help make more families and children in our area prosper?

After a lot of thought, we decided that it would be great if our donation could potentially spur other economic activity and grow into something bigger.  My own experience as a women new to business made me think of the unique roadblocks young women entrepreneurs living in a rural area face compared to men.  Young women are more limited in realizing their business dreams because they have additional burdens of childcare and caring for older members of their families. Young women often have fresh, innovative business ideas, but are especially limited in resources because of having to pay for education or the costs of starting new families.  It’s also discouraging that pay equality gaps between men and women remain and women continue to make less money than men in all employment sectors, at all education levels and at all stages of their careers for the same work.  This further limits young women from obtaining resources they need to start their own business.

The result of these roadblocks mean the awesome business ideas of many young women in rural Nova Scotia are never realized. If Goodness To Go Energy could help more aspiring young women entrepreneurs with an initial cash infusion to get their business started, their business ideas would be much more likely to grow into something bigger.  The positive aspects of this initial cash infusion could be significant – their businesses could grow and improve not only their own quality of life, but the lives of future employees and create an economic stimulus in the area.  More women business owners help counter gender pay gaps by getting people used to the idea of women in business leadership positions.  They also become inspirations for other young women and empower them as they make their own careers choices.

We knew the program we had in mind couldn’t be successful on its own and we were thrilled to find two partners that would be best suited for delivering and supporting the program. The first partner is the Tri-County Women’s Center, which is a registered charitable organization who offer a variety of services based on the needs and wants of women in the Tri-Counties. In the past, they have facilitated connecting women in business in the area, and have an ongoing project that addresses the economic security of women.  They are well suited to deliver the program as they are very familiar with the needs of women the program is intended for.  The second partner we found is Ignite Labs,which is a new business incubator operating in partnership with the Nova Scotia Community College. They provide low cost office space, equipment and internet access to help reduce the costs of new startups.  Their aim is to encourage innovation in local industries to contribute to the economy and create jobs. Ignite Labs was more than willing to offer support for the successful applicants of the program.

So with that, our charitable program was born – The Young Woman’s Grant For Entrepreneurs.  Goodness to Go Energy will provide the direct financial commitment for the grant with an initial amount of $1,000 per grant, which has the potential to grow.  The grant will be distributed twice a year by the Tri-County Women’s Center and the successful applicant will be supported by Ignite Labs to help their business idea become a reality.

The application is easy! To qualify for the program you have to answer yes to the following questions:

  1. Are you a women?
  2. Are you between the ages of 16-30 at the time you submit your application?
  3. Will your business be based in Yarmouth, Digby or Shelburne counties?

If you can answer yes to these three questions, contact Tri-County Women's Center at 902-742-6068 or tcwc@tricountywomenscentre.org to fill out the application, which consists of 7 straightforward, short answer questions. You also need to submit a brief business plan (two pages maximum).  Ignite Labs is happy to assist applicants with writing their business plan and can be contacted at 902-746-0795 or erin@igniteatlantic.com.

Applicants will be graded on the following three criteria:

  1. The potential for the business to contribute positively to the local economy (employees, economic spinoffs)
  2. The growth potential of the business and potential to access various markets (locally, regionally, nationally, internationally)
  3. The ability of the business to meet an existing or future need in society

The selection board will consist of the executive director of the Tri-County Women’s Center and the Connecting Women in Business Group.  Successful applicants will be notified in advance of the announcement date.

* First Serial Of The Grant: Registration opens on October 18th, 2018 and the deadline for all applications for the first grant is December 31st 2018. The successful applicant will be notified by January 9, 2019 and be highlighted at Women's Winterlude Tradeshow, Jan 19th, 2019.

Good luck to all the applicants and we're pumped to see what kind of unique business ideas our women come up with!

Want to Donate? Want to help aspiring young women entrepreneurs? This program was designed so that other businesses or individuals can contribute to the program.  If you would like to make a donation to help increase the amount of the grant, feel free to contact the Tri-County Women's Centre at 902-742-6068 and mention the Young Women's Grant For Entrepreneurs.